Best Life: Treating a rare food allergy disease

Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 8:08 AM CDT
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ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- It is commonly mistaken for GERD, but eosinophilic esophagitis, or EoE for short, is a chronic condition in where there is irritation and inflammation of the esophagus. For some, it can make it difficult to eat and swallow foods and inhibit growth in young children. Ivanhoe has details on what people should look out for and how EoE can be treated.

Seventeen-year-old Will Moore dominates the soccer field.

“Soccer is something I do every week,” stated Will.

And a healthy diet fuels his energy. But a few years ago, the food he was eating was causing him to have an allergic reaction. In a matter of three months.

“I had three or four anaphylactic reactions,” Will revealed.

Laura Moore, Will’s mom, shared, “It was definitely a challenge and very scary.”

Doctors diagnosed Will with eosinophilic esophagitis or EoE.

“Basically, this is the body reacting mostly to foods and causing inflammation or swelling in the esophagus,” explained James P. Franciosi, MD, Division Chief of Pediatric Gastroenterologist at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Florida.

Symptoms of the condition can include trouble swallowing, heartburn, chest pain, vomiting, even trouble growing for some kids.

“If left untreated, you could develop scar tissue in the esophagus, and sometimes you could develop a narrowing or what’s called a stricture,” continued Franciosi.

To treat EoE, a patient’s diet is stripped of most food. Then foods are slowly reintroduced, and endoscopy is performed to monitor the number of eosinophils, a type of white blood cell related to allergies and inflammation, in the esophagus.

“If it’s a high number, then you know you can’t eat that food and if it’s a low number, then you know that’s a safe food,” shared Will.

Will’s diet now consists mainly of red meats, rice, fruits and vegetables. He also takes medication to control his symptoms.

“He’s feeling a lot better. He’s able to gain weight. He’s playing sports,” smiled Laura.

And he’s scoring a goal in the fight against EoE.

There are several types of EoE. Franciosi said that Will has a more severe type, which involves more food restrictions. Many children with EoE do well with only a dairy restriction or a four-food restriction. Will also has a brother with a less severe form of EoE.

Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; and Roque Correa, Editor and Videographer.

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